Exclusive: Frontier CEO on How He Killed ’50 Years’ of Time That Would’ve Been Spent on Customer Care Calls





When you ring a customer care service line, you often get sucked into a limbo with unspecified call wait times and annoying hold music. Time has no meaning there, right? One company actually did the math.

Internet service provider Frontier Communications Parent calculated the difference between the time spent on customer care calls throughout 2023, and compared it with 2022, and found that it had reduced the number of calls by 2 million and saved subscribers a collective 50 years of time.

The impressive number underscores a stunning turnaround for the telecommunications company, which had gobbled up assets from other telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T before going bankrupt with a reputation for horrible service. Frontier emerged out of bankruptcy in May 2021 under new CEO Nick Jeffery, who called the old Frontier a “hot mess.”

Since then, the company has seen its customer reputation scores rise, with its net promoter score, which rates how often someone will recommend a service, rising from 0 to more than 30 over the last year. And while the company is still facing financial challenges, including revenue and net income declines, it is moving in the right direction from a reputational perspective.

Jeffrey, speaking to Cord Cutters News in an exclusive interview, said it has been able to turn its service around by focusing back on the customer.

“There’s a belief that if we put the customer at the center of the universe, good things will happen,” he said

But back to the customer service calls. Jeffrey said the company was able to reduce the number of complaints by going through every single reason why a person would want to complain, meeting every Friday with his executive team to discuss to run through them. Then they went to work addressing every single one of them.

“It was putting in place teams to systematically fix things,” he said.

That included simplifying its bill so people wouldn’t have to call for clarification, improving the online ordering process, and introducing an app that allowed for better digital interaction.

“If they don’t call as much, we’re giving time back to them,” he said.

It also meant changing the culture of the nearly 14,000 employees at the company, which meant getting everyone to move faster. “It’s moving with a snap,” he said.

The changes did result in layoffs that the company announced in October.

Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst at New Street Research, said in a note from November that the company has seen “incredible improvement” thanks to its focus on fiber optics and its move away from traditional copper DSL lines. He noted that Frontier is only second to Verizon in its net promoter score.

Frontier reported in the third quarter that it had added 75,000 consumer net new fiber customers, even as it lost 58,000 as it lost 99,000 DSL customers. In total, it ended the third period with 2.9 million broadband customers and 1.9 million fiber customers, compared with 2.8 million total broadband customers and 1.6 million fiber subscribers. The company is slated to report its 2023 and fourth-quarter results later in February.

Image credit: Frontier Communications

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